The real question that came to mind here is whether these ‘Active Noise Cancelling’ headphones from Creative could stand up to their Bose counterparts at a fraction of the price. And here’s the thing, my expectations were widely high, and here’s why that wasn’t perhaps such a bad thing.
With any ‘budget’ competitor we psych ourselves up to the matched performance at just a fraction of the price, we somehow we come to expect more and more for less and less. My next train of thought was whether, for the price, these could scale, do their job as ‘active noise cancelling’ not necessarily as good as their Bose counterparts, but instead in line with their price point, in some cases just a ⅓ of the elusive Bose competitors. And gladly the answer to that is a yes.
What better place to test these than on a plane right? And that’s where these come to life, they crush the overwhelming sound of the jet engines, drastically decreasing and, in some cases, removing the low and mid end completely, leaving just a faint, less irritating hum. A train or car another great place for these, once again removing the sustained sounds. And that’s the key word here: sustained. More spontaneous sounds such as someone talking is where these headphones don’t fair quite as well. And to properly explain that it’s all about waveforms, audio waveforms. When it comes to a plane engine for example that roar stays throughout the flight. Because the sound doesn’t vary all that much it’s easy for the headphones to remove it. With speech however the action is much more spontaneous, especially given the variation of pitch and volume in different voices. That’s not to say it can’t cancel out crowds of voices, in fact it does that quite well.
In terms of sound quality the bass is definitely there, albeit a bit light and the mids are definitely there, and full at that. The treble and high end could be sighted as slightly sharp at higher volumes but that’s to be expected when the volume is cranked on a pair of headphones.
The leatherette earcups are comfortable and soft, with the 40mm drivers providing clean sound. The inclusion of a hard transport case is great for travelling with the included airplane adapter definitely showing the target audience of these headphones. A braided cable is also a premium addition, with an in-line microphone and pause button a nice addition. I also have to give credit to Creative on the inclusion of a AAA battery, necessary for the noise cancellation mode.